Sessen + Jordan | Urban Engagement Photographer

Meet Sessen and Jordan. For those Memphians who hang at Avenue, you know this duo. In fact, you probably knew them before they were a duo. I met Sessen in passing at Avenue Coffee. Immediately I knew she was such a encouraging and high-spirited personality. In full 901 fashion, I also met Jordan at Avenue. We had some pretty nerdy camera gear chats! Seriously, when I found out these two were dating, it was a fo’sho thing.

And now!!! – After hanging out for a whole evening, it’s fo’sho a  FO’SHO thing. They compliment each other beautifully. I can see how comfortable and joyful they make each other. It’s evident through even the photos that they feel comfortable to be themselves together. I mean, long story short, Jordan and Sessen killed their shoot. I’m honored they chose me to capture this season of life- all the excitement, new love, and anticipation. The wedding is going to be a freakin’ awesome. Enough chat, just scroll!

 

And for your own humor. Or maybe for ours… I’ve included the behind-the-scenes below! OFFICIALLY, y’all are the freakin’ best, Sessen and Jordan. Let’s see what we can manage to pull off come wedding day! Haha

Emily + Brian | Interracial Memphis Wedding

I feel like I start every wedding blogpost with “Where do I begin?” But this time I’m serious. I wish you could have been there. Emily and Brian’s day was sheer celebration. The uniting of two incredible people who have seen each other’s flaws, and embraced them. Who have witnessed each other’s strengths, and only empowered one other to continue using them. Who have catalyzed growth in one another. Who are in pursuit of Christ individually to glorify God together. EEK. Y’all, I could go on. And it isn’t because I idolize Brian and Emily (like I do Kristin Bell and Dax Shepard..ehm..), but because they have welcomed wisdom, counsel, and mentorship. They have not hidden struggle for the fear of losing respect or integrity. In fact, by practicing transparency, they have only gained respect and integrity. It was a full house March 10th, let me tell you. If I hadn’t been behind the camera, my hands would have been red from clapping as they swept back down the aisle as Mr + Mrs Holmes! But I really am getting ahead of myself. Let’s start with the morning.

Emily was joined by some of the most wonderful ladies from every season and home of her life. The house was oozing with laughter, fruit, hairspray, and dresses. After an incredible brunch, Emily passed around some sweet letters. Mrs. Gluntz invited the  women for prayer together over Emily and her marriage, and followed with a beautiful testimony of God’s faithfulness and teaching through her own marriage. We all dispersed to corners of the house piling hair on the tops of heads, curling stray ends, and making funny faces in the mirror while layering mascara (we’ve all been there.) Emily chose to go minimal on her route of makeup. It was a true EmG move, and the lipstick was just the match. I hurried back from hanging with Brian to capture the most beautiful moments of her mama and aunt buttoning up the dress Eliana, her maid of honor, made over the last few months. It fit like a glove, made just for her silhouette. There were tears from all directions (including mascara draining down my cheeks as I TRIED to direct her. LOL). Brian’s best man’s daughters peeped around the corner bursting into squeals. 

Down Summer Ave a few blocks, at their soon-to-be home, Brian pulled out some fresh new shoes and his hand-made tie. Surrounded by his best friends, B greeted me at the door with a huge smile. It was THE day after all. In the living room cards were being played and jokes passed around. I pulled Brian into the kitchen for a quite moment as he opened Emily’s letter and gift addressed to her “future husband.” (If you are disgusted by how gushy and adorable it is, you need to stop now, I might put you over the edge.) Out came some awesome “nooo way, oh my gosh!”s and laughs trying to keep the tears in for later. “No she didn’t!” Inside was a book started nearly in the beginning of their story. Prints, memories, and notes of their journey so far together, followed with some incredible writing in her card (I’m sure!).

We got all the guys into the kitchen for their “groomsman” gifts. Aka, learning how to properly tie a bow tie. Not going to lie, by now I had gotten a text that Emily was ready to get her dress, so I didn’t stay for the full struggle that was going down. But rest assured, I know there was lots of blind leading the blind, lots of laughs, and of course, eleven properly tied bow ties at the end!

Em and B wanted to save their first look for down the aisle. So I took the guys to Overton Park. The nicest security guard let us snap photos and goof around in Memphis College of Art. These guys were awesome; I think you can agree, they killed it!

Next up were the ladies. Em was the only one with the traditional bouquet. She and her ladies spent the morning before wrapping and gluing eucalyptus to hoops for their “bouquets.” It looked stunning with each of their unique dresses and looks. I love all the personality and joy oozing out of these photos. The final countdown was on. We had roughly 15 minutes to get to the church when we left MCA. 

We got Em to the church just in time to have a quick prayer with her ladies. The chapel was filled with excited faces and friends greeting each other with handshakes and hugs. Everyone settled as the bridesmaids came through the doors, followed by precious flower girls, and a wagon of ring bearers pulled by one of Emily’s little sisters. We all rose as Mr. Gluntz came through the doors, with his arm linked with his eldest daughter. Em was stunning. Her elegant dress, huge smile, and swept back hair joined her down the aisle. Brian awaited his bride at the front. I’m not sure about tears between the two of them in that moment, but there were enough tears between friends and family, haha. Brian and Em wrote their vows; they had each other choking up and bursting out in laughter. It was perfect. Their mentors and parents gathered around them for a time of prayer, while the guests lifted up their own voices to the Lord.  Then they were announced Mr. and Mrs. Brian Holmes. We all went wild as they danced on stage before walking down! 

After many hugs, family photos, and all-around joyful cheers, we headed to the Brooks Museum with the wedding party. What a fun crew! Even though we were all ready to go jam at the reception, they made these photos so fun and full of memories!

Now it was time for Em + B’s portraits. The sun was setting quickly, so we only had about 10-15 minutes. We stayed in front of the Brooks for the whole time as it was the brightest spot, and just looked gorgeous with them in front! I love these photos so much. So much happiness to just be together, in each other’s arms. You can see the joy in each laugh and kiss. I love it. I love them!

My favorites. They are pretty much models at this point. 

And as the sun set, we drove to their beautiful reception where over 200 friends and family awaited the new Mr. + Mrs. Holmes! I could just gush for lines, but I’ll try to keep it short. There were beautiful details in corners, apricot jam drizzled over goat cheese, and sparkling cider for each table. After toasts and dances, the floor was open. And when I say we got down, I mean we got DOWN! There was so much freestyling and laughing going on, it was hard to keep up. Every time I turned there was an epic moment going down. Just keep scrolling!

Everything was winding down as we hustled outside! Right before Em + Brian headed into the night, they shared a last dance together. There were empty chairs, shoes spread across the room, and only a few cookies left in baskets; the room was used and loved well that night. I cherish the moment of capturing this dance so dearly. It was a timeless dance.

Emily, it was an honor to photograph your wedding. I love you guys so much, and will count it as a beloved memory forever. I cried, laughed, danced, and was so merry! I’m blessed to know y’all, and to call you dear. To many many more years of Mr. + Mrs. Holmes!

Just wanted to give a huge shout out to Jessica Lauren, who drove down from St. Louis in the midst of her own wedding season and hustle and bustle of life! Jessica, you made shooting Em and B’s wedding a dream. You were there before I even asked, you were one step a head fixing dresses, loading cars, and driving boutonnieres around. Its been an honor to get to know you better, and have you by my side. You are dear friend to Em, and I’m so thankful you got  to be here for this day.

Afternoon Wedding | Cayleigh + Mitchell | Timeline Hack

Heading into my meeting with Cayleigh + Mitchell, we had no set schedule in plan, starting from scratch for their timeline. We knew the ceremony was going to be 2:00. As we started brainstorming the idea of a first look came up. First looks have many advantages including getting lots of photos down pre-ceremony!

Cayleigh + Mitchell’s church is out in Bartlett, off a not very pretty main road. When they decided on a first look, I asked them, “where?” And when I ask where, I mean WHERE! It could be anywhere you want. If we have freedom of time, then why stay constricted to a brick church with an asphalt parking lot? “We could go to Shelby farms!” Cayleigh exclaimed and so I started typing away. Questions that follow are, “Should we do wedding party photos at Shelby farms too? How long is the drive from Shelby Farms to the church? Family photos before or after the ceremony?”

What we created was a timeline that gave enough time for us to get there and back. Such an awesome way to have beautiful location mid-day.

I alway request at least 10-15 minutes with the couple after the ceremony even with a first look prior. There is something so special about those first moments of husband and wife. The weight of wedding planning, anticipating, and pressure is just OFF all of the sudden; They just get to hold each other and breathe it in! Cayleigh and Mitchell were excited about this part, but the timeline just wasn’t adding up on how many family photos we needed and how quickly they needed to head into to the reception. Even if we did squish in 10 minutes, it was again going to be outside in the best spot we could find around the church.

So then I pitched,”What if we took y’all’s portraits AFTER the reception?!” I’ve done this a couple times, but tossing the idea out can seem almost too unconventional for certain couples, but Cayleigh + Mitchell both grabbed the idea. “YES! I like that idea!” And with that, we could literally go anywhere in the city we wanted! Mitchell had an internship downtown, and suggested we take some down on Main street and around that area. This stirs my little creative heart round. It’s the intimacy and excitement of the wedding day, with the chill and freedom of an engagement shoot. What more could you ask for? So next time you are stumped by a wedding’s location, pitch out some wild timeline ideas, pick a part the wedding day and re build it. Its not that the couple wants it that way, they just haven’t been given other options. Below I have attached the timeline from Cayleigh + Mitchel’s wedding, as well as my very favorites from our time downtown!

WHEN WHAT/WHO WHERE
10:00 Details (Have details ready in a box/bag) Church, exterior
10:30 Reception/venue details Church, prepped
10:45 Cayleigh getting ready Church, downstairs
11:15 Mitchell getting ready Church, upstairs
11:45 Cayleigh in dress Church, downstairs
12:00 Mitchell heads to first look w/ EM Shelby Farms
12:05 Cayleigh leaves for first look Shelby Farms
12:20 First look Shelby Farms
12:40 Wedding Party Shelby Farms
1:30 C is hidden Church
2:00 Ceremony Church
2:35 Family Photos Up on stage, church
2:45 Food is served Church hall
3:00 Mr+Mrs entrance Church hall
3:30 Cake
4:30 Bouquet Toss + Garter Toss
5:00 Exit (streamers) Church, main entrence
5:20 Downtown Portraits Meet a Majestic Grill, Main Street
6:30 Mr + Mrs are officially off!  From downtown

Why not stop into Stock and Belle, and get some 387 Pantry coffee? Again, we had no where to be!

“When we were planning the wedding, the only thing that made since was to take pictures after the wedding because it was at 2. I hadn’t really heard of people doing this, but Emily made sure we knew it would be good for the pictures and good for us. When we were on our way to take the pictures, Mitchell and I felt so relieved. I remember both of us saying how happy we were with the wedding and then we still were happy to get to take pictures, just the two of us in a really beautiful place and for the day to not be completely over. Taking our pictures after the afternoon wedding and reception was the most fun and better than I could have dreamed. We laughed and even got to sit down and drink coffee. One of the small things that I now love about the pictures is that we both had our wedding bands on in our wedding pictures. It was easy and fun to take the pictures afterwards because the hard part was already over. I would do it all over again for the complete joy I felt for the no rush, happiness of taking beautiful pictures with my just married to husband.”  – Cayleigh (Bride)

Reflections on South Main were perfect! I loved this time we just sat and chatted about the day.

 

Rheinland Pfalz, Germany | Bridals

Not much to say except that I love my cousin and I’m so thankful she gave me this time. Actually frolicking the hills of the German countryside in her wedding dress, 1o years after I was her flower girl nervously making the way down her wedding aisle. Call us pretentious, but we just living these crazy lives the Lord has given us which somehow included a magical sunset in the hills behind her village. Its a dream to have visited Alice twice in almost the same year, and I don’t take that lightly. The Lord gave us this opportunity to unlock a friendship we never got to have when we were younger. I love my cuz, my friend, Alice Holt. AND I cannot WAIT to see her in just a few short days STATE side.

Here are a few photos of my GORGEOUS cousin. <3

              

Eser & James | Phoenix, Arizona Wedding

I could spend an entire evening writing about this wedding. I’m going to do my best to keep it short. For them it starts just over a year ago. They committed to long distance, intentionally pursue each other in every way they could. I have so much admiration for their love and commitment.

I was ecstatic to hear from Eser over FB. We skyped, and I was overwhelmed by the joy in my friend’s life. How the Lord had taken her and written such a beautiful story. I’m so proud of Steph, and knowing James for the few days that I did, he is a man worthy of her love. I am praying he uses you in even more ways though your marriage. Before the wedding, I hadn’t seen Eser in 11 years. Her family had moved away when I was young, but I still remember playing on their farm. We would make mud cakes, play house, and run around. Our snacks were vegetables and props were normally twigs and mud. It was the life. Being welcomed back into their home was was the highlight of my year. It was like nothing had changed (except maybe we don’t have dirty faces, and are not playing fake wedding anymore). I felt a part of their family. I was just in a state of happiness the entire weekend interacting with my childhood friends now grown up and married, and meeting their children. Thank you, Norris family, for taking me in as one of your own.

The wedding itself was simply wonderful. If my wedding is half as beautiful and intentional as James & Eser’s, I will considered it a pure gift. Eser had searched for a venue outside, big enough to host all of their guests for quite some time. It was a huge blessing to find this orchard through one of her bridesmaids; it was exactly what she wanted. The soups were made by women in the church. Corn chowder, lentil soup, and a couple other kinds followed bagels and fruit after the ceremony. Eser handmade the bread bowls and butter dishes in her pottery class for the tables. While in Turkey over the summer, they collected little patterned tile magnets as favors. One of my favorite things about the entire wedding, was how important the guests were. It was so clear how the people coming to this wedding came to stand beside them and celebrate them. I was overwhelmed by the kind words poured over both James and Eser. People flying in from all over to witness this marriage take place. It was so beautiful how many places were signed on the maps they laid out as guest books. Just before heading down the aisle, the women from Eser’s life gathered around her, laying a hand, pouring blessings and prayers over her and James. The ceremony was filled with worship. Such an honor to not be a part of such a wedding, but to capture it. Then came the wedding party photos. We had a blast throwing bouquets and making them kiss. 😛 Their reception was built on dancing, conversation, genuine speeches, and a joy that stayed even as they ran through a tunnel of guests to their get-away car. I know I’ve already rambled and written out what you will see, SO here is the wedding itself. <3 Congratulations Eser & James.

                

I stole them for a few more moments before they left. Love these two and the laughs they shared that day.